Friday, March 30, 2018


SpaceX...  Just watched the latest SpaceX launch, this time with 10 IridiumNext satellites on board, launching from Vandenburg AFB in California.  Once again, a totally routine event, with everything (up through the first second stage burn, anyway) working “nominally” (space-speak for exactly as expected).

This one commercial, profit-seeking company has completely transformed space travel already, and they have many ambitious goals yet unmet.  They've done what NASA called (in testimony to Congress) “impossible”.  They've dramatically reduced the cost of putting things in orbit.  They've increased the reliability of putting things in orbit by a large factor.  Finally, they have a greater capacity to launch (more rockets, in other words) than any other institution, private or public.  It's a wonderful example of the power of capitalism and its associated incentive structures.

It amuses me when I see appalled leftists and statists bleating about the supposed “taxpayer subsidies” leveraged by SpaceX, as though they were a horrible problem.  NASA is 100% “subsidized” (paid for) by the U.S. taxpayer.  NASA uses SpaceX because they're cheaper, more reliable, and more available to launch than any other source of launchers. They get development contracts from NASA and other government entities because they're producing more results with less money.  About the only legitimate ding on SpaceX, in my opinion, is the assertion that they cost jobs at NASA – and that's a ding that I applaud them for, as NASA is a huge sinkhole for wasted taxpayer dollars.  It's a boondoggle that should have been reined in a long time ago...

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